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“More immigrants, more restaurants”

The New York Times’ food critic Sam Sifton blurted that out at a Toronto symposium back in 2018 when he chaired a panel with three Syrian refugees, all of whom were in the food business.

Sam was comparing Canada’s role in immigration to America’s where, in those mid-Trump years, “immigrant” was a loaded word, as it is now in the run-up to what could be the Trump II era. Back then, Canada took in as many refugees as America, a country with ten times the number of people. So Sam was happy to tout immigrants as a universal solvent here in Canada instead of the universal problem they seemed to be elsewhere back then – and are viewed as today.

But if a week is an infinity in politics, four years is…an infinity to the power of infinity.

Today, a record 55% of Americans view large numbers of immigrants entering the US illegally as a critical threat to the US’s vital interests. In Canada, the issue isn’t illegal immigrants; it’s immigrants, period.

50% of Canadians think too many immigrants are coming into the country, more than double the 21% who thought there were too many last year. And seven out of ten Europeans believe their country takes in too many immigrants.

No mistake, in the past 10 years, Canada’s population has risen from 35 million to over 40 million. Nearly all of this growth was driven by new immigrants. Today, we’re no longer a ‘small’ country the way the Nordic countries are. We’re a ‘middle-country’ with more people than Saudi Arabia and slightly fewer than Poland.

The place that boasts of being the nation of immigrants, of course, is America.

It is no longer. But Canada is. More people living in the GTA were born outside Canada than in it. This past year alone, Canada took in 471,550 immigrants who are permanent residents, which is more people than live in London, Ontario, and the GTA took in 160,000, which is more than the population of Barrie. Having a Barrie-sized-city popping up every year in the GTA has consequences.

Yes, the immigrant surge is a proximate cause of our national housing shortage and a rise in home prices. Their sudden influx is giving our healthcare system a case of acid reflux.

I wouldn’t count on the Liberals to solve this problem, since they’re the ones who hastened it. Perhaps the Conservatives can solve it without demonizing our millions of newcomers along the way. Here, Mr. Poilievre’s wife, Anaida, may be a calming influence. She immigrated from Venezuela to Montreal with her parents when she was 8, and speaks Spanish, French and English.

But just as public policy let in so many immigrants, I’m confident public policy can create better ways to absorb them.

Indeed, there’s a group advocating for even faster growth by immigration. The Century Initiative was created in 2011, well before the uptick in immigration began. They want to grow Canada’s population to 100 million by 2100. They note that our population is aging fast, so our workforce is shrinking. They also argue that our economic growth is tied to our population growth. “A bigger population would give us a dynamic and robust domestic market, with more global talent to drive innovation and fill new jobs….A bigger Canada is a more influential Canada; a bigger population means a stronger economy to better protect our interests.”

I agree with them. But there’s another argument, one from the world of marketing, that is especially germane here and now. During tight times, when everyone is pulling back on their marketing budgets and initiatives, that’s the very time to double down on your spending – because you’ll be all alone in the marketplace, the single voice people will hear.

If we all wake up on the morning of November 6 to learn that Donald Trump is the new President of the United States, Canada will have an opportunity to invite immigrants who are highly educated, job-ready, and speak one of our two official languages.

More American immigrants, more restaurants – and  customers.


1. The mother of all…roller-coaster rides.

2. Lazy, good-for-sumpins? Morgan Housel updates what it means to ‘work’.

Plus, more updates on our assumptions…

a. Heavyweight urbanists Joe Berridge and Richard Florida both say Toronto’s waterfront (and plans for Ontario Place) are pretty good, actually.

b. Donald Trump is convicted on 34 felony charges and raises $53 million in the 24 hours after the verdict.

c. Submersible travel is booming. Over a million people have gone on civilian submarines since the Titan disaster a year ago.

d. There’s a new member of the Top 5 biggest companies in the world: Nvidia, the California firm that makes computer chips and AI hardware and software. It’s one of only three companies, including Microsoft and Apple, that are valued at $3 trillion + (depending on what day it is). Canada’s annual GDP is $2.16 trillion (US).

 3. Tanya Talaga’s big new book launch. The Indigenous journalist launches The Knowing on September 23 at the RamsayTalk at Koerner Hall. Tickets for OG readers (you!) and Royal Conservatory subscribers go on sale on July 3 and to the public on July 5. So……you have a 48-hour window to get the best seats. Do that here as of 10 a.m. ET on July 3 and use the code OGBLOG.

4. Some men of god are dogs. In 2019, the Houston Chronicle unearthed a lawsuit that found close to 400  Southern Baptist church leaders or volunteers had been charged with sex crimes since 2000. This is relevant because last week, Paul Pressler, a retired Texas judge, Southern Baptist leader and conservative activist who had been charged with rape, died at age 94. Here is the list of the alleged abusers.

Speaking of unprofessional conduct, what doctors  are most likely to behave unethically?

5. With friends like these…Three Columbia University administrators were put on leave for sending antisemitic texts (including vomit emojis) during a panel discussion this month on “Jewish Life on Campus: Past, Present and Future.”

6. Women not only can, they must max their finances. One of our most constant readers, Sandra Pierce, gave a TedX Talk last week on the subject. It’s not just women, but ‘disengaged spouses’.

And speaking of big questions, here are some, animated.

Plus, what is intelligent life? Oh, and do you look like Ernest Hemingway? And the biggest question of all: should I c-c-c-c-commit?

7. I will piledrive you if you mention AI again. For us tech-optimists, this is a rude, jarring, Hunter-S-Thompsonesque rebuttal of our Bambi-like beliefs. They may have a point.

8. Ca-Na-Da-We-Love-You.  This Canada Day weekend, watch Val Pringle’s interview with proud Canuck James Cameron (who’s written and directed 3 of the 4 highest-grossing films of all time) on her PBS series, Canada Files. Click here (password: cf2024). Here also is a new song for our national day and a reminder that Canada loves you back.

9. Donald Sutherland and free healthcare. Lost amid the tributes to Sutherland who died last week at 88 is this: He was the ex-husband of actor and activist Shirley Douglas. She was the daughter of Tommy Douglas, former NDP leader and Premier of Saskatchewan. And Douglas was not only the father of universal healthcare in Canada, in 2004 he was declared “The Greatest Canadian”.

10. Muslim Metal Girl-Band. Not many of them, especially at Glastonbury, Britain’s summer mega-music-festival. But Voice of Baceprot broke through a few walls to get there.

Plus what do you think of the Paris Olympic theme? Hum along here. Here’s how it compares to the London Olympic theme in 2012 – and to the greatest theme of all.

Finally, 14 music professors arrested for corruption.

11.What I’m liking. The new BBC rookie-cop series Blue Lights on Prime (Britbox). It’s in Belfast where the police wear guns, unlike elsewhere in Great Britain, and the characters and violence are deeply real, unlike in the CBC’s Rookie Blue, which ran for 6 seasons over a decade ago.

12.“Last week this week.” This is a new weekly section that updates items mentioned in last week’s blog. Every Saturday, a reader invariably writes in to say: “I read your piece on X. But the real story here is about Y.” And they tell me the story.

So…last week I reported on Tarmo Peltokowski, 23, the youngest conductor of a major orchestra in the world. Eric Friesen wrote to say: “He led the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in a fantastic Shostakovich 5th Symphony last season when he was 22. I took my Victoria College class to the concert and we met Tarmo, just us, in the Green Room for about a 20 minute conversation. Amazing kid, such utter confidence to stand before a new orchestra with all those veteran players, who are just waiting to see if the new boy knows what he’s doing, or is he just painting purple out there? Tarmo certainly charmed and LED them.”



Yes, this is another wondrous adventure with Lindblad National Geographic. This time, Jean and I are taking friends on what was once America’s largest private yacht, the famed four-masted sailing ship, the Sea Cloud

We’ll be with the ghost of Marjorie Merriweather Post, whose husband, financier E.F. Hutton, gave it to her as a wedding present when they married in 1931.

Today, the Sea Cloud holds 64 passengers in classic luxury. (Just look at the cabins!)

We also know the Sea Cloud’s younger sister, Sea Cloud II, which we took 16 friends on in June down the coast of Italy, and …..oh la la, was it ever wonderful!

Our warm-winter trip begins on January 19, 2025, in Barbados and ends there a week later on January 26. In between, we’ll visit some of the Caribbean’s most storied destinations.

Coming with us means you save 5% off the prices you see here (prices listed in USD). And of course you’ll be traveling with a band of gentle adventurers eager to take on the best the world has to offer.

So please join us where it’s hot when Toronto is cold. Just call Lindblad at 1.833.985.1261 or email and be sure to mention that you’re with “RamsayTravels.”

Sail on…



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